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Author Topic: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2  (Read 481465 times)

Dark.Revenant

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #705 on: October 05, 2020, 11:29:12 AM »

Haha, thank you!  Yes, I spent considerable time on the Imperium revamp, so it's good to know my hard work is noticed  ;)
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zaks

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #706 on: October 30, 2020, 04:53:03 AM »

is it normal that onslaught can survive the titan exploding right in front of it with 2/3rd of its health still left?
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SukmaZaki

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #707 on: October 30, 2020, 01:46:18 PM »

Maybe, Onslaught have incridible armor, as long you haven't strip down her armor, there is a change she still survive.
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mkire

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #708 on: November 03, 2020, 02:07:54 PM »

so i had an encounter with a fleet full of elite package imperium ships the other day, i won that fight by outlasting the very low peak performance time they all had and then waiting for their CR to drop like a rock to zero then just executing the now helpless ships.

I have a suggestion to prevent that sort of thing if you're interested, make fleets not all the same package
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Dark.Revenant

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #709 on: November 04, 2020, 10:17:54 PM »

That's actually how you're supposed to beat that type of fleet.  That's not a problem, that's a feature.  If you have the ability to stall and outlast them, well, job's done.

FYI the "Imperial Guard" fleets are weighted towards Elite package composition but still usually have some other packages mixed in.  You probably got lucky with that one being all-Elite.
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HELMUT

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #710 on: November 15, 2020, 08:38:57 AM »

Confinement being a thing these days, i do have plenty of time for playing Starsector. I thought it was the right moment to invest some time in trying the "new" version of Interstellar Imperium.

It's a pretty daunting mod now, there's a lot of content to try, even more so when considering the hullmods packages that pretty much turn the imperial fleet into three, or even four factions instead of one. It's easy to feel overwhelmed facing all the possibilities the mod offers. Feeling a bit rusty with my Starsector knowledge, i decided to stick to something i knew about II : good old death ball. Although instead of going with the classic "Great Wall of Dictators" fleet, i was in the mood for some carrier action. Let's see how it went.



I choose the Maximus as my starter ship. I never really gave it a proper chance before the great rework, so it was the occasion to try something a bit different. After fiddling for a bit, trying to understand how the damn thing worked, i settled for this build :

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I would be outnumbered by a bunch of rustbuckets for the duration of early game, being able to fight alone was the most important criteria. The armor package allowed me to get close to the target, face tank whatever it could threw at me while i charged the Celerity Drive, then slip around its shield to deliver damage. With some early game combat skills like Impact Mitigation and Advanced Countermeasures, the Maximus can be really difficult to take down. I ignored kinetic weapons since i found the Patella Breaker to be a good enough shield breaker against low-tech omni-shields.

It worked very well for the first few skirmishes. As my fleet grew, and my opponents also grew better armed. I switched for a targeting build with light phases lances in a typical glass cannon fashion. No need to tank hits when you have teammates to do it for you.

(By the way, i had no access to elite package for quite a while during this campaign, which explain why i won't write about it much in this post.)

As for the rest of my fleet, the RNG didn't blessed me with much variety for this early game period. I did found a Decurion and an Invictus, only one of each, both performed reasonably well against low-level pirates. Nothing groundbreaking with the builds either, a reasonable mix of low-flux kinetic and HE with the armor package. I was more concerned about keeping them alive than killing the enemy the standard way. Because every time i visited Byzantium, Minerva insisted that i would kill my enemies with missiles, and missiles only.

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Those plump little fellas were the only things on sale for an unexpectedly long amount of time, and they weren't exactly what i was looking for. But as they said, lemon, lemonade, etc. I had to make do with a bunch of Basileus. During skirmishes, keeping them alive proved tricky, so as shown in the picture above, i went for the "You can't kill me if i kill you first" doctrine. With a little fiddling with the weapons groups to ensure they have as little trigger discipline as possible, i managed to turn those chubby, harmless-looking guys into proper killing machines. Few things are as terrifying during early game as something that only cost 5 FP turn an Enforcer into scrap metal in less than 5 seconds.

So yeah, i was pretty satisfied with the Basileus.


I rapidly transitioned to destroyers, the first addition to my fleet was the Princeps battlecarrier. I wanted to play a carrier fleet after all! I was... Not very impressed. I mean, it's a much better combattant than the Condor, Gemini or Drover, but it's also noticeably more expensive to field. Very early on, it's not a bad idea to outfit the Princeps as a high impact missile boat like i did with the Basileus. But i rapidly got to a point where i wasn't too keen on seeing my precious and vulnerable carrier get too close to the front line. I did lost many of those during this campaign.

Throughout the game, all my Princeps were eventually fitted with LRMs and long range interceptors. Even then, i deemed their performance only acceptable but wouldn't go out of my way to salvage them if they got disabled in battle. I feel early game is the best moment for the Princeps to shine, it's sufficiently well armed to brawl with low-tier frigates, and perform as a decent fighter platform. Later on though, they felt dangerously vulnerable, and i eventually found something better to replace them with.

After a time, i changed my aging Maximus for something a bit bigger. I got myself an Interrex, bypassing the imperial packages, i outfitted it with a safety override build.

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While not an exceptional SO ship, this did a very acceptable job at intercepting key targets, breaking their shields, shutting down their engines, and killing them. I tried to experiment a bit with Pulsar weaponry on it, but remained unconvinced. When i later upgraded to a bigger ship, my Interrex got refitted with less flamboyant loadout as to survive better. It never disappointed, although it didn't really impressed me either.


From that point, i felt i fooled around enough for early game and decided to pick proper carriers. The Imperials don't have many dedicated carriers, the Ardea i bought isn't as good as the Heron when it comes to fielding fighters. It is however a pretty awesome battlecarrier that can hold its own on the frontline. My Ardea flagship was outfitted with a quad HVD, with a pair of Vicarius to do the actual killing. The AI versions that would follow me into battle had a more reasonable mix of HVD/Mauler/Ballista, also with Vicarius.

Speaking of the Vicarius, i wasn't really convinced at first by the heavy fighter. Low engagement range, extremely expensive, it was ill-fitting on my support Princeps. On the front-line Ardea however, it's low range was much less of an issue, and i could fit both wings without scarifying too much firepower from the actual ship. The Vic is over-gunned, and can overpower even cruisers with support from my carriers. Capital ships however, were something i struggled against, i needed some serious armor cracker if i wanted to keep doing my bounty hunting gig.

I traded my Ardea flagship for an Adamas, because of course i would try the Imperial's shiniest toy for this campaign, carrier fleet or not. It's a really fun ship, hit like a truck too, just what i needed.

Nothing outlandish when it comes to the builds. I fiddled a bit with Elite package, but found it too risky given my fleet doctrine. Targeting package fitted neatly though, i could blast apart my targets from a safe distance, either with the Light Spear or HVDs. Still, being a phase ship that requires to regularly face a target without blinking, i took quite a few hits, even at long range. I often finished my battles with a completely mangled flagship. A good enough outcome when i fought a few cruisers and maybe one or two battleships, but the hostile fleets i encountered fielded more and more ships. It was clear this was going to devolve into an endurance battle very soon, a kind of battle the Adamas is uncomfortable with.


Which is why i decided to pick the king of endurance battles, or rather, the queen. The Matriarch is a strange ship to build and to play. Huge, lumbering, with a weird weapon layout, it doesn't like direct action, yet can (and should) be on the frontline. Unlike the Astral that constantly require input from the player, the Matriarch is content just being around on autopilot, with occasional orders being given. And that's how i used it.

But before fielding the beast, i needed a proper loadout to take on capital ships.

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Weapon-wise, it's a fairly mindless build, the kind of guns you keep on autofire and forget about it. As for the bombers, i went for Piranhas, which might raise some eyebrows given how unreliable Piranhas are. Thanks to the Command Center system that can buff fighter mobility, this does help my bombers to reach their target more rapidly. With a little help from Broadswords to distract point defense, and from Thunders to make sure those engines are flamed-out, this does greatly improve the reliability of my Piranhas. And when they hit, they hit hard, occasionaly disabling an enemy capital ship in a single bombing run.

I did try a loadout with Imperial Inferna bombers too. While it technically worked, i judged the damage output insufficient when it comes to capital ship killing. The Inferna is a weird one. As its description suggest, it works better in larger number. Unfortunately the Imperials are pretty limited in fighter bays until they can field a Matriarch, so they didn't felt very impactful during early and mid game. Later on, the Inferna's efficiency against relatively unarmored ships was no longer relevant against the bigger targets i faced. I mean, they do work, but in comparison to the Piranha, it couldn't compete.

My comparison is probably a bit unfair though. The Piranha is an overspecialized bomber that requires an inordinate amount of baby sitting to get the job done, and only against specific, low mobility targets, while the Inferna is less demanding and a bit more reliable against most opponents, while still being cheap.

To get back on the Matriarch, this loadout worked really well. Railguns could soften the target's shield, Ion beams would shut down weapons and engines, and the bombing run would begin. Come back to rearm, repeat the process against another target. My whole fleet survivability was also directly improved, thanks to the built-in operation center. My Ardeas, while pretty good front-liners, cannot hope to contain the advance of an Onslaught or something equivalent, and sometimes got overwhelmed in an attempt to hold the line. Thanks to OP center, i have unlimited order points that can be liberally used to shape the positioning of my fleet, forcing them to disengage, or take on a specific threat.

Not a flawless tactic mind you, interceptor heavy fleets, or anything with powerful AOE weapons (devastator, mine strike) could completely shut down my offensive capabilities. One reason i avoided ScalarTech fleets and those mine-layer cruisers like the plague. Moreover, my Matriarch was good at killing, but pretty terrible when it came to defend itself. A failed bombing run left me extremely vulnerable to a frontal assault. I also took many torpedoes to the flank because of a daring frigate i couldn't shake off. My Ardeas were too busy fighting the enemy to come to my aid, so i had to get myself a dedicated escort.


The Libritor Siege destroyer isn't what one would immediately think of when it comes to escorting duty. Probably for a good reason. Still, i was determined to get a pair of those to accompany me in battle, for better or worse. In my mind, two Libritors with the ability to push back a target, thanks to the targeting package upgrade, would protect me from an unexpected enemy charge. A pair of Flamen interceptors would serve for point defense duty against fighters. It worked in the sense that two destroyers to protect me is better than no destroyers, but this was not the right ship for the job. On top of that, their Magna Fulmen didn't fired as much as i would have liked, and when they did, they weren't the sharpshooters i hoped for. I rapidly took the decision to mothball those two.

My newest addition for an escort ship was probably not the most judicious one either. I think i got sidetracked with my objective of "protecting the flagship" at this point.

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You bet those missiles are all linked with that tactical laser. This Ixon proved to be a pretty terrible escort that would require my protection rather than the other way around. Still, i now had an incredible fire-support ship at my side, and while it didn't fixed my vulnerability issues, my offense had been further improved.
Combining the HE Apocalypse and Ballistas missiles with the KE versions from its Magnum Salvo system, the Ixon can hit hard and far, and because of my fiddling with weapon groups, fired pretty much non-stop. A brutal glass cannon that i deeply regret not trying sooner. So long as the enemy didn't, or couldn't focus on it, it would unleash a ceaseless barrage of missiles at anything around it.


It did nothing to alleviate the growing collection of scars my Matriarch was accumulating in battle though. I had to stop fooling around and actually try to find a solution to my problems. The escort problem wasn't the only one i had, my Ardeas were getting less and less capable of holding the line against the increasingly bigger ships i encountered. I needed a battleship.

The imperials don't have much choice in that role besides the Caesar battleship, fortunately for me it's a good choice. I wouldn't pilot it, so the AI required a simple yet efficient loadout, i went for a mix of HVD, Sledges and Ballistas. The Caesar would act as the anchor for the rest of the fleet but also as a sort of "concert master". Whatever it focus, everyone else was ordered to follows suit. Sledges and Hypervelocity drivers do not destroy targets as quickly as bombers, but they're reliable, more so than Piranhas at least.  This allowed my fleet to quickly burst down bothersome targets. Thanks to this new development, i decided to change my strategy a little bit.

I bought a second Matriarch with a slightly different loadout, something that would hopefully turn my fleet into an impregnable fortress.

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This Matriarch have a very different function from my flagship. Instead of bursting down targets, it will assist and protect allies. A purely support ship, and probably one of the most powerful i managed to build in all of my Starsector playtime. The mobility buff provided by the Command Center is percentage based, making it extremely powerful on an already fast fighter like the Thunder. Coupled with its massive engagement range, my Thunder squadron could intervene pretty much anywhere on the battlefield in a blink of an eye.

With a few "fighter strike" order, i could intercept and disable any target almost instantly with their ion cannons. Onslaught charging in? No more guns and engines for you. Frigate harassing my flank? Now it's molten slag. Freighter trying to run away? Not any more. Heavy point defense on your ship? Good luck getting a hit on something flying that fast. This build provided the ultimate crowd control for my fleet. Sure, it didn't dealt as much damage as my bomber variant, but every clashes between ships happened on my terms and that's worth more than all the bombers in the sector. If any ship could get the MVP aware for this campaign, it would be this Matriarch.

This did come with an inconvenient though. Two Matriarch, a Caesar, and (ideally) four Ardeas on the field was more deployment points that i could afford. I decided to mothball my older Matriarch, given its obsolescence. I could take control of the new one, but it worked well enough on its own with a few fighter strike orders. So, what flagship should i fly then? The Caesar? I didn't had the proper combat skills to use it to its full potential, and my flagship would require OPcenter so i could remote-control the Matriarch. A lone OPcenter Hound parked on the bottom of the map is what i used for a while, but eventually i reached the end game, and faced an opponent that happened to be tougher than i expected.

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Was this boss that hard in the past? Or is it just me getting rusty? Regardless, Gabriel Mosolov proved to be an unexpected and impassable roadblock for my fleet. Stopping a capital ship, even an extremely strong one, i can do that. Stopping the Zeus, Ares and Nike at the same time is much trickier since the three of them reach my fleet at the same time. The overwhelming alpha strike of the Zeus, the nearly indestructible Ares and the sudden missile barrage of the Nike were too much to handle for my Caesar. Once it is gone, my fleet formation shatter and it's game over. My Matriarch can immobilise one, maybe two by regularly switching target, but there's not much i can do about the third flagship. If only i had a way to prevent them from charging straight in my fleet, maybe i could force this into an endurance battle. That i could win, it's a shame the old Jupiter isn't a thing anym- Oh wait.
 

 My two Libritors were still sleeping in storage somewhere. Now is the occasion to shine gentlemen ! My new flagship role would be simple and very similar to the Matriarch in some way : control the enemy's positioning in battle. Thanks to the Magna Fulmen knockback effect, i could push away an overly daring opponent from my fleet. I did experiment with this tactic on random bounties, which worked pretty well. Let's try that against Mosolov.

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Oh.
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It turns out that the Zeus have Advanced Targeting Core, which outrange me. Welp, time to find another solution.

I did try a similar tactic with the Lynx, which can use the shock buster while phased, hopefully protecting me from harm while doing so. Alas, the knockback effect proved insufficient to stop a capital ship, so i had to find another way to win this fight.

While the Lynx isn't an ideal candidate for that kind of scenario, i did find it pretty fun to fly nonetheless. I think it would a very interesting ship during mid-game battles, where the shock buster can break apart an enemy deathball. If i had to play another Imperial campaign, i'd get one of those much earlier. Also, it can do fun stuff like this :

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I wasn't really sure how to tackle on the final IBB bounty. Fighting through conventional ways wasn't working, so i had to think differently, although i was unwilling to change my overall fleet doctrine. I guess i could have assembled a squad of Dictator cruisers, outfitted them with Armor Package and Safety Override, sending them on a suicide mission to burst down the enemy's flagships, leaving the rest of the fleet vulnerable to my carriers. It would have worked, although i felt that method lacked tact and subtlety, so instead i tried something else.

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Tact and Subtlety
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You never know what expect in life, so it's never a bad idea to have a few planetkillers within arm's reach. I did try to use the Olympus a few time beforehand , with pretty terrible results. The Titan is maddeningly unreliable, exploding too early, or too late. Even with a heavy interceptor escort, it rarely reached a target, and when it did, it usually was the wrong one. Nailing a titan shot, no matter satisfying as it can be, tends to be a waste of effort, a battleship would have done the same, although not as quickly.

Except against this target. Trying to burst down the three flagships from afar was a doomed endeavor, even four Titans fired simultaneously would get intercepted before detonating. So i had to play dirty. I deployed a few "dummy" ships at the start of battle, hastily built ships without officers, a bait to attract the enemy's flagship closer to my deployment zone.  Of course, there would be causalities, but that was a sacrifice i was willing to make. Once the target reached the "bottom" of the battlefield, i would order a general retreat, freeing precious deployment points to unleash my Olympus.

At such close range, protected by the debris of the ships that couldn't retreat in time, the enemy had no hope of stopping the Titan. First explosion, the Nike explode. Second Olympus deployed, second Titan fired, both the Zeus and Ares manage to weather the storm, but not without damage. Third Olympus deployed, third Titan, direct hit on the Zeus that disable it. Fourth Olympus deploys and fire its Titan, the badly damaged Ares don't stand a chance against it. With the three flagships down, i deploy the rest of my ships. The enemy still have many capital ships in store, but nothing like the three monsters i took down. Still a brutal grind, i'm even forced to deploy my Barrus freighters in battle to fight the last few capital ships. Slowly but surely, i whittle down the enemy's fleet to a few retreating crafts.  Victory !


And with that, i concluded this Imperial campaign. I haven't had the chance to try every ships, and certainly not all the build possibilities with the Imperial packages. The Interstellar Imperium mod is a huge mod, i would need to replay it at least thrice to get a good feel of the faction in its entirety. From what i got with only one campaign, it's a really good mod (was anyone expecting something else?), the ships are fun to fly, it looks flashy without being gaudy. It just works.

As for balance, it's really hard to tell, there's so many possible combinations of ships, weapons and hullmods to tell for sure. I don't feel some of the stuff i played felt over the top. Sure, the Matriarch when properly built is incredible, although it's probably more of an issue with Thunder than the ship itself. There's also the weird outlier like the Olympus that is pretty much impossible to perfectly balance due to its weird nature. Overall, it felt balanced, but it would require an inordinate amount of testing to say for sure, so... Good enough i suppose. Would play again.

Also, i tried a little bit the Royco. Not much to say about this one, i guess it's okay.
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Dark.Revenant

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Re: [0.9.1a] Interstellar Imperium 2.2.2
« Reply #711 on: November 15, 2020, 04:10:28 PM »

Thank you for giving the reworked mod a try, and especially for the amusing write-up.  It really made my day!

it's okay.

There is no greater praise that can be offered from the Excelsior God himself.
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